Weather-wise, we have had a strange but absolutely gorgeous Spring. We’ve had a handful of crazy warm days in the upper 80s, but in contrast to previous years – those have been interspersed amongst a sea of 70 degree days. We’ve even had a few 40-50 degree days, and normally we’re all sweating our tuckuses off by early April as temperatures typically reach a sweltering 90 degrees. In short, for the first time perhaps ever – we’ve had a true spring, spanning February through April. And I’ve been loving every moment of it. So what have been some essentials for me as I’ve delighted in this perfect weather? Read on!

Brushed Fleece V-Neck Pullover in Holly, from Anthropologie

For days that start (and perhaps stay) in the 50s and 60s, I’ve enjoyed this brushed fleece pullover with ruffle hem in Holly. The color is super different from anything else I have, and it is SO soft. I love it with my standard darker wash jeans, but it’s great with my beloved embroidered jeans as well. It layers nicely and is easy to throw on whenever you’re feeling a bit chilly. The Brushed Fleece V-Neck Pullover is on sale now for $60 from Anthropologie.

 


Kadeejah Top by Club Moncao

I’m surprised to see the Kadeejah Top still in stock. I purchased this on a whim while out with S back in February. I was wearing a shirt I felt uncomfortable in and saw this on the sale rack at Club Monaco. I tried it on in a size medium and large – warning, it is form fitting, so I was really happy in the large…and was smitten. I purchased it and ran back to the fitting room to put it on immediately.

The Kadeejah Top available for $59 from Club Monaco. As this has been on sale for a while, I will note that I think this top is ideal for cooler Spring and Fall weather. As soon as the temperature breaks 80, this top starts to get a smidge toasty.

 

Maddie Eyelet Top by Tiny, from Anthropologie

The Maddie Eyelet Top in “light grey” is eye catching, with it’s beautiful eyelet details and stunning deep grey color. It’s easy to reach for on warmer days and looks effortless while being totally comfortable.

 

Plum Japonais by Tom Ford

I’m a huge fan of Tom Ford fragrances, and while I don’t have this in a full size yet – Plum Japonais is a sample I usually pick up this time of year. I was lucky this year to receive a really generous sample from my local counter and have been wearing it frequently. This is not your standard gourmand, but rather a heady, dark & juicy plum with depth from oud and spices. The official notes are:

Saffron, Cinnamon Bark, Everlasting Flower, Sawara Cypress, Ume Plum, Plum Liqueur, Camelia Japonica, Agarbois, Amber, Benzoin, Fir Balsam Absolute, Vanilla Absolute and Infusion

It’s a pretty sexy, though a bit heavy, scent. It’s probably ideal for any time of year except maybe Summer. I like it on me but honestly? The best this has ever smelled to my nose was on a former male SA at my local counter. This scent is truly a delight, that transcends both seasons and genders. A full sized bottle (1.7 ounces) of Plum Japonais by Tom Ford can be purchased for $225 from Luckyscent. A sample is also available for $4.

 

Twilight Dress by Pas de Calais
When I first saw the Twilight Dress in a local boutique, I had incorrectly assumed it was French. Just looking at it – the easy airy silhouette, striking but still versatile and sophisticated print (and those shiny buttons), quality of natural materials…even the sizing! The brand, Pas de Calais, referencing one of the northernmost departments of France, is actually Japanese. Don’t let the “light grey” colorway fool you – this grey is much more complex than that, with shades of icy steel and sky blues.

 

After visiting it a couple of times, I tried it on and loved it for what I had originally anticipated would surely be a warm Spring, then Summer. I haven’t worn it yet, but am excited to reach for it in the months to come. Warning: this thing runs large! Pending how you like your dresses to fit, I’d recommend sizing down AT LEAST one size. I surprised myself (I average around a 12 – anywhere from 10-14 pending the garment) and actually bought this in the smallest size available, a 34 (XS). If you’re interested in other items from Pas de Calais, the whole line is like this so keep that in mind. The Twilight Dress can surely be found in the cool boutiques in your town, otherwise can be purchased in 2 colorways from Pas de Calais directly for $390.

 

Zara Midi Dress with Buttons
Last on the apparel front, but not least is this crisp white linen dress from Zara. I really do love this dress, and for Zara find the material to be of fairly high quality. It is great for Spring and early Summer, and while I’ve gotten compliments every time I have worn it – I must lament that I become a REAL klutz when wearing it, spilling food and even wine on it! Highly recommend for anyone who carries a Tide to go pen on them at all times.

I did find this runs true to size, and is available for $70 at Zara.

 


Iced Matcha Lattes

I’ve been sipping on Matcha Lattes regularly since January, albeit iced is only a recent modification. The version i’ve been lightweight addicted to has macadamia nut milk in it. For the sake of my wallet, I’m considering making these at home. Ceremonial matcha seems a bit difficult to find locally, so Alfred LA’s version ($28 for a 30g tin) is at the top of my shopping list.

With the sun shining and temperatures rising, I’ve been happy to see Spring and Summer produce trickle into my local grocer. I’m still waiting for cherry season, but in the meantime have been happy to load up on peaches, avocados, and unique heirloom tomatoes.

I’ve not always been a huge tomato fan. I remember as a child disgustedly picking the tomato chunks out of my tomato sauce. And raw tomatoes? Unthinkable. No, I’m afraid that I didn’t willingly eat raw tomatoes until I was 20. I was studying abroad in Europe with a group of classmates the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. I can’t remember if it happened in Germany when the tomatoes were likely soaked in a horseradish dressing, or if it wasn’t until we were in France and I was suddenly eating all of the tomato basil things.

S, unfortunately, has yet to fully appreciate raw tomatoes. Much to my surprise, when we were out to dinner with friends a few weeks ago, he excitedly devoured a pasta dish that had raw red and yellow tomatoes, even demanding that I try one of the pieces on his plate.

S was able to pinpoint the appeal of these was their lower acidity, as confirmed by the gospel – google

So when we were grocery shopping the next day and I spotted the irregularly shaped, “ugly” tomatoes in a rainbow of green, yellow, orange & red – I happily purchased a few, unsure of what I’d do with them.

On a warm afternoon that week, after raiding my fridge – I had an idea. Tomato toast for a late lunch, or perfect afternoon snack. Tomato basil is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I was sure that I’d miss the fresh basil taste without having the fresh leaves on hand. But because of the herbaceous chèvre, my tastebuds were happy!

I began with my current favorite bread – a purple wheat walnut loaf from aforementioned grocery store, but any crusted bread will do. Into the toaster it went, until it was lightly toasted.

I then carefully spread Purple Haze Goat cheese, from Cypress Grove Chèvre. It is packed with lavender and fennel pollen, giving the cheese a fresh herbal flavor. If you aren’t familiar with goat cheese, it can be a bit difficult to spread on warm bread. To not completely butcher your toast, it is best to let the cheese acclimate closer to room temperature from the fridge before use.

And then, come the beautiful tomatoes! Slice to your heart’s content. I used two different tomatoes, but combined only used approximately 1/2 of a tomato in total.

Topped with freshly ground salt and pepper and voila! You have a perfect lunch, or afternoon snack.


Credit: Lauren of Creature & Cave
Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of whole grain, hearty bread (2 per person)
  • 2 ounces Purple Haze from Cypress Grove Chèvre. It can be found in most grocery stores, but any herbed cheese like a Boursin will do.
  • 1 Large Heirloom Tomato
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Remove cheese from refrigerator ~15 minutes in advance.
  2. Toast bread to desired crispness – I like my bread hot with edges crispy, but not a whole lot of color change.
  3. Slice tomatoes
  4. Assemble: Spread cheese on toasted bread, top with tomato slices
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Serve & enjoy!

[/recipe]

Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair by Frida Kahlo, 1940
I am on a total Frida Kahlo kick after watching the movie this week. The 2002 film was on my watch list when it first came out, but for some reason I never saw it until this week. I remember learning about Frida and Diego in high school Spanish (my Spanish 4 teacher was passionate about teaching us about the culture, art, and history of Spanish speaking nations – he was inspiring) – I remembered they were a trip, but clearly forgot just how much. I think in my 30s I also have much more appreciation for Frida’s Art.


1939 mock-up of Paris Vogue cover featuring Frida Kahlo

Dolce Gabbana x SMEG Refrigerators in Taratatà, Jousting Paladins, and The Moors

Do you have $50k to spend on a fridge? No? Maybe just $600 on a juicer…or Toaster. Or Electric Tea Kettle. I know that Dolce & Gabbana is controversial for many, but I always love their bright colorful designs. The Carretto Sicily release from a couple of years ago was a favorite of mine, but I never pulled the trigger on anything, though I came quite close with one of the purses. The Dolce & Gabbana and Smeg collaboration, titled “Sicily is my Love,” is a chance to have a bright and colorful Dolce and Gabbana designed Smeg appliance in your home instead.

 

These appliances have surfaced at Horchow (no word yet on if their generous promotions will apply) and Williams Sonoma (current Friends & Family promo does not work) this week.


It appears that there will be quite an expansive range according to this write-up, including a TDF stove and hood! You can sign up for more details, including the official release date of the “Sicily is My Love” collection at here on Smeg’s official website.

 


Left: Gemma Eyelet Camisole by Featherbone | Right: Dariela Peplum Top by Bhanuni by Jyoti

The visuals from the film are far reaching – a trip to Anthropologie this week had me reaching for options more colorful than I normally would. The Gemma Eyelet Camisole is eye catching in person – beautiful off-white eyelet, strewn across an atypical rainbow floral background. The Dariela Peplum Top has me questioning everything I know. Trying the top on, it felt like a well-constructed garment in a rich Saffron with beautiful beading and embroidery. It felt so smooth and lightweight, I was sure that it was a high quality cotton or perhaps a silk blend. Nope, it is a (mostly) rayon and cotton blend 🙈.

In a Post-Harvey Houston, the weather has just been beyond kind to us. I’ve enjoyed many beautiful meals on outdoor patios the past few months. One of my lunches this week included a complimentary olive oil tasting. The one on the left was nondescript, the one to the right was infused with blood oranges, and the center is balsamic vinegar that will change your life.


Not quite a Sunday Sip – White Chocolate peppermint tea from the now defunct Teavana, served in the famous Cosmos mugs from Urban Outfitters. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t buy 12 of these!


One of my (many) weaknesses is embroidered fabric – either in the form of clothing, or intricate home textiles. So much so that last year, I had a momentary lapse in sanity while I entertained purchasing some high waisted, cutoff, light wash denim shorts from Madewell because, well – embroidered flowers! My 30 year old, pear-shaped behind be damned! Thankfully, I snapped out of it long enough to remove the offending shorts from my body and back away.


And even better – other brands and stores have picked up on the embroidered denim trend! During a recent Anthropologie promotion, I picked up 2 items, the first being the Embroidered Mid-Rise Slim Straight Jeans by Pilcro. Full disclosure: the first time I saw these, I was looking for a DARK WASH straight leg – ya know, standard jean with FINISHED HEM 🤷🏻‍♀️. If you can’t tell from the photos, these arent really any of those things! But – they are beautiful, and unique, even with some sparkle thrown in.

I’ve actually been more or less living in them since buying them. They shockingly go with almost everything I grab out of my closet, and I love that the wash isn’t a simple blue, but has an aged, easy look to it. I do usually find that Pilcro can run a bit large and typically size down. Unfortunately, my store didn’t have my size or the size below so I ended up ordering my usual size based on the petite I was able to try on (which felt TINY), and have been wondering ever since if I should have sized down. So I definitely advise trying both!


Alas, the second item I purchased are – in fact – denim shorts! Buuuuuut…these are more age and body appropriate. The Mid-Rise Embroidered Boyfriend Slim Shorts also by Pilcro! I haven’t worn these as much yet (see: Dogwood Winter), but funny enough do not question if I should have sized down in these lol. I definitely recommend getting these in your standard size! They’re pretty and comfy, and with the white and navy embroidery are an easy way to work some neutral embroidery into your summer wardrobe.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have surely heard of Target’s new home line – Opalhouse. It has been touted as a more affordable version of Anthropologie’s beautiful home offerings – and while I like the new line, as a die hard Anthrophile, it is a bit hard to agree. Sure, some items channel Anthropologie…kind of. Don’t get me wrong – this line is full of bold colors and prints, and some really beautiful pieces!

When the line first became live online, one item immediately caught my attention is this gorgeous decorative gold wall mirror. Dare I say, it caught a lot of people’s attention as I mulled it over that day and it sold out before I was able to purchase it. However – I was really lucky and scored it when it popped back in stock last week. Coincidentally, this piece does have an older, more maximalist sister at Anthropologie – the Gleaming Primrose Mirror, albeit at the Anthropologie price point.

I love the shape and it is a unique size that makes it versatile to place almost anywhere – you could have it sitting on your mantle like the above styled shot, or on a dresser or a vanity. Even just hanging on a wall against some bold wall color or wall paper, like I spotted a similar mirror (albeit, more fabulous and likely antique version) in a local shop (though Anthro has a version in the Wooded Manor Mirror in the “Bird” shape).

The mirror is my only purchase so far (and I’m not so patiently waiting for it, as its ETA keeps getting pushed back – thanks FedEx!), however I’ve got some other items on my wishlist – and others that I’ve seen in person that I want, but I just don’t have the space for atm because I’m a bit of a hoarder, or they just don’t have a place that they would fit.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been excited about this release since seeing the gorgeous carved fireplace with the bright Floral & Canary removable wallpaper in the photo above. If only I had such a spot for it! Fear not, Target did release a few other items with this print…


Notably, as the handpainted interior of a beautiful Mangowood serving bowl as well as an entire bedding collection. Fun bonus: the comforter is reversible!

One other print I’m really digging is this “blush peacock” on these Caracara Counter Stools. I do wish more items were offered with this print, as I don’t really have a use for these stools – but even if I did, the colors of my walls aren’t this fabulous teal that really make this print POP!


But 2 really amazing peacock items that I COULD have in my home (if I needed another serving bowl, or a vase are the above Peacock Bowl and Peacock Vase. I did see both in store over the weekend, and the bowl is well made with some heft to it. The vase was as well, but I was lamenting that I viewed it as a pitcher and couldn’t use it as a pitcher (not realizing it was meant to be a vase).


I’m most definitely a gold girl, and on the release date – the one other item that caught my eye was this beautiful gilt Tole Chandelier in Italian Gold – Fancy! This is one item I would absolutely buy if I had a spot for it. Who know – I may still buy it and save it for when I do have a spot for it. I like it quite a bit – and I like it even more at this price point!


Other than gold, one other color I really love in home decor is rich emerald green (give me a black room with lots of natural light, green and ivory furniture, and gold accents)! Love this Floral Earthenware Vase for said dream room. It kind of has a Matisse vibe going for it as well.


The Mallorca print is also stunning, and a great way to make a statement if color isn’t your thing. My pick is the beautifully embroidered Lumbar Throw pillow pictured above, but I’d also be glad to have the reversible Jacquard Oversized End of Bed Throw in our guest room or even our living room.

And those are my picks! Overall, Target appears to have something really special with their Opalhouse line. Initially I was a bit disappointed to see that their bright and fun printed dishes are Melamine, but I feel that kind of works for those colors and the season – they’d be great for family dinners on the patio in Spring and Summer. But that’s an opportunity for them to expand. My only caveat for this collection is to be cautious with the velvet furniture pieces like the Myna Tufted Velvet Arm Chair. The brass legs are fresh and fun, but velvet it is not! Personally, while I like the visual of velvet – I strongly dislike the feel of it (I’m a weirdo and it makes me shiver), but I don’t find that the chair or matching chaise are priced well enough to justify the substitute material…for those of you who do get excited about velvet.